Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Ronda Storms doesn't want to hear excuses regarding Assisted living facilities

Posted By on Tue, Aug 9, 2011 at 8:34 AM

Ronda Storms
  • Ronda Storms
Back in May, the Miami Herald ran a series of articles (at least one that was reprinted in the St. Pete Times) called "Neglected to Death," an amazing (and sad) depiction of sweeping failures in state oversight of Florida’s Assisted Living Facilities (ALFs) that have left thousands of elderly and mentally ill residents to languish in dangerous and decrepit conditions. The reporters identified 70 cases of neglect and abuse some involving deaths at licensed ALFs.

The year-long investigation and reports have led in part to the creation of a task force created by Governor Rick Scott, and yesterday the group held their first meeting in Tallahassee. However, the fact that the task force is made up of four ALF industry insiders on the 14 member panel has drawn some concern among ALF resident advocacy groups.

According to Sunshine State News, one of those members, Larry Sherberg, protested that the Herald reports were shocking, but a bit overblown, saying, "None of it (the reports of abuse and neglect) is any good; please don’t misunderstand me, but it’s not as prevalent as portrayed here (at the meeting)."

Meanwhile, the St. Pete Times reports that Storms got all in the face of Alberta Granger, a representative of the Florida Assisted Living Association, who said that many owners are "perplexed and confused" by the state's variety of regulations and other bureaucratic gymnastics that owners must contend with.

The Miami Herald reports that Storms has teamed up with Democrat Nan Rich to seek meaningful reforms of the industry as part of a summer-long interim project in their Senate committee.

There will be two other meetings held by the task force on ALF's this summer. Senator Storms says she'll write a bill next year on holding ALF's more accountable, regardless of what happens with the group.

A popular conservative mantra in Washington and Tallahassee has been the need to get rid of "onerous" regulations. But as we saw earlier this year in the Legislature, some of those attempts go too far, even for the right leaning Florida Legislature. As Storms said yesterday, according to Sunshine State News:


Said Storms, “I’m a person that believes where we can deregulate we should deregulate, but not when it comes to human safety, to health and welfare of vulnerable populations. I think that if we’re talking about regulating grass cutters, that rises to a different level than regulating child welfare, elder services. There has to be some common sense here. We’re not just talking dogma, right?”

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